a reader poll

This is a general post, but specifically aimed at people who don’t necessarily read fantasy books as a first choice (I know, I know, in my friends, that’s a self-selecting group, but bear with me):

My publishers are looking for what we’ll call “mainstream fantasy”, or books that will appeal to the occasional, rather than the regular, fantasy reader. They’ve cited THE HUNGER GAMES and HARRY POTTER as examples (both of which are problematic, IMHO, as they’re young adult books rather than aimed at the adult market, but we’ll overlook that for now).

So this is kind of a survey: if you’re not a regular reader of fantasy novels, what kind of stories might flip your switch? Or what fantastic elements in an otherwise, say, mainstream thriller, might be appealing? Or, to turn that on its head, what kind of book *do* you like to read, and how might you see a fantastical element worming its way in?

Commentary *very* welcome!

One comment

  1. Christine Chen

    From my experience (working in a library), what I tend to see from people who read “mainstream” fiction are books such as “The Time Traveller’s Wife”, in which only one fantasy element is worked so as to be a main part of the story, whilst still remaining only a deus ex machina.
    So, as in The Time Traveller’s Wife, it’s not so much about time travel as the struggles to cope with it’s arbitrary effects. It’s not a story about time travel, but about love, and what you could cope with because of love. The time travel is a plot device to get to the heart of the story.
    The reason Shakespeare is still so prominent – get the main themes/ tropes(?) right and then entangle the fantastic elements in.
    Hope this helps your publishers.

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